GRANGERLAND — Montgomery entered Tuesday evening one game back of Willis for the final playoff spot in District 20-5A, needing a win over Caney Creek to stay in the hunt.
The Bears took care of business with an 8-1 road win over the Panthers and remain one game back after a 5-3 Willis win over Kingwood Park.
“Caney Creek is a tough ball club, especially tough at their place, and we knew that coming in,” Montgomery coach Chris Morris said. “The guys showed up tonight. It was tied early, then we got some big hits. It worked out good.”
The Bears (13-15-1, 8-7) pulled ahead in the third inning, then scored six runs in the final two innings to seal the win.
Caney Creek (10-11, 5-11) has a bye Friday, so its season wrapped up at home Tuesday night. The members of the Class of 2019 saw six wins in their first two years of high school and 23 in their last two.
“I’m proud of them,” coach Kyle Tidwell said. “They’ve won double-digit wins the last two years, and it hasn’t been done in a while here. Those seniors have taken the program to a good level.”
Tuesday’s game was a pitchers’ duel early, with Caney Creek’s Zach Greenhouse and Montgomery’s Dillon Smith keeping batters at bay.
Both pitchers went 5 2/3 innings and struck out seven. Smith didn’t earn any runs, while Greenhouse earned three.
In the top of the third, Montgomery got on the board with a string of three two-out hits. Tristan Whitehead and Dalton Davis doubled back to back, then Cole Morris singled. The latter two had an RBI each.
After flying out in his first at-bat, Davis doubled in his other two trips to the plate.
“I was out in front, and (Coach Morris) told me to hit it up the middle, hit it to right field, and that’s what I did,” he said. “(Greenhouse’s) change-up was really good, but I was able to capitalize.”
Greenhouse responded strong after the runs, retiring the next seven Montgomery batters.
“For four years, he’s been a competitor,” Tidwell said of the senior. “That’s what he does. He competes, and I wish I had him for four more years. He gets in there and battles.”
The Bears pulled away with four runs in the top of the sixth inning. After Davis and Morris opened the inning with a double and single, respectively, both scored on a sequence that featured two errors.
Altogether, Montgomery scored four of its eight runs on Caney Creek errors. While the defense had its miscues, Tidwell turned to the offense as a contributor to the loss. Caney Creek totaled one hit and left five runners on base.
“We’ve got to score to win,” he said. “(Smith) did a good job throwing the fast ball. That’s the biggest thing — if you don’t score, you’re not going to win.”
Leading 6-1, Montgomery added two more runs on a single error in the seventh.
The Bears have a big matchup Friday night at home against Lake Creek. With a win and a Willis loss to first-place Tomball, a tie for the final playoff spot will surface on the regular season’s last night.
“Practice is the best way for us to get ready for it,” Davis said. “For us, practice is the biggest part in getting us mentally and physically ready for a game, especially a game against Lake Creek. It’s going to be a battle and it’s definitely going to be fun.”